Friday 14 December 2018

Thoughts on education, the arts, assessment and schools

1. Spluttered coffee moment: heard people on radio saying that to get out of this Brexit impasse,  May and/govt need ‘imagination’ and ‘creativity’. What???!!! The govt (Gove and Gibb) abolished that stuff. We do eBacc, ‘rich knowledge’ with ‘right/wrong’ answers now.

2. When you squash and squeeze the arts out of schools, you not only deprive students of a chance to get arts qualifications, you deprive everyone in a school community of what the arts can offer as a way of interpreting the world - the mix of feeling and ideas.

3. People in power in education have prioritised ‘knowledge’ and downgraded the arts unless they can be turned into their idea of ‘knowledge’ = the western canon, right-wrong answers, ‘info necessary to understand this’, and what can be instructed/tested.

4. People in power in education think if you turn knowledge into ‘that which can be tested’, demand teachers teach it, test children for their ability do it right/wrong, and if  scores go up  = ‘raising standards’ . 

5. If only the imposition of the present ‘assessment’ methods in education had instead been a matter of open discussion about pros and cons re ‘formative’, ‘summative’, ‘criterion’ v ‘norm’, locally monitored or national, high/low-stakes, league tables or none, we could’ve arrived at age-appropriate, education-appropriate, thought-appropriate systems.

6. It is vital for the government to get as many people as possible thinking and saying that higher exam grades is identical to ‘raising educational standards’. The fact that exams change, teachers’ familiarity with systems increases and the results are ‘managed’ must be ignored.